PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday accepted the resignation of 18 third-level officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) linked to illegal drug activities, according to the presidential palace.

“In a letter to the President, PNP Chief Benjamin Acorda, Jr. informed the former that the Ad Hoc Advisory Group conducted a thorough investigation into the alleged involvement of 953 third-level officers in illegal drugs activities,” it said in a statement.

The 18 officers submitted their courtesy resignation pending investigation, it added. “The above officials are continuously being monitored,” the palace said, citing Mr. Acorda Jr.

In his second state of the nation address to Congress on Monday, Mr. Marcos Jr. said he would accept the resignation of unscrupulous cops involved in illegal drugs.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. in January urged all police colonels and generals to resign after a probe found many of them were involved in illegal drugs.

Human rights abuses continued in the first six months of Mr. Marcos’ rule, Human Rights Watch said on Jan. 12.

In a global report, the global watchdog said drug war killings, communist tagging and attacks against journalists continue to damage the country’s democratic institutions.

Political analysts have said the Marcos government should enforce the law and prosecute top generals with illegal drug ties instead of asking them to quit. — KATA